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Reboot Your Security Sense with QR Codes

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1.20.2022
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Security
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Sarah Nicholas

As a result of the pandemic, Quick Response codes have made a comeback. If you’re not familiar with the term, QR codes are barcode-like symbols that have started appearing on restaurant menus, business cards and marketing materials. Scanning the code using your phone automatically directs you to more content – such as the restaurant’s daily specials or a coupon.  

Since QR codes direct you to apps or websites, you should have online security and privacy in mind each time you scan one. Often, these apps or websites ask you to share personal information, which can be tracked or stored.

Keep these facts in mind before you scan:

  • It’s important to know that each time you scan, you’re creating a digital footprint, allowing retailers to track, target and analyze your activity on their sites.
  • While many browsers have phased out 3rd party cookies, they’re not gone for good. Consider putting your browser in private or incognito mode before you scan the QR code. Here’s how to do that.
  • Check out a safe QR scanner app. There are several available for cellular devices. These can help prevent you from encountering a malicious code that takes you to a fake URL.
  • Look closely to verify the code doesn’t appear to be a sticker placed over another code. This could be a sign that it’s a malicious or fake QR code.  If it looks suspicious, don’t scan it.
  • Never supply your personal information to a site you visit unless it’s one you trust implicitly.

Many businesses are now using QR codes to provide useful content in a convenient way. Since these codes take you to the internet, we encourage you to be mindful, just like you always are when you’re online.

 

 

Written by: Sarah Nicholas

Sarah is the Director of Communications for Serendipity Communications. She lives in Plainwell, Michigan with her husband, daughters and stepson, with twin stepdaughters pursuing their dreams out West. She is passionate about cyber safety education and enjoys ballet dancing, reading, and volunteering in her community.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Ameris Bank is not affiliated with nor endorses any of the companies featured in this article.

Sources:

https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/trends/qr-code-risks

https://www.computerworld.com/article/3356840/how-to-go-incognito-in-chrome-firefox-safari-and-edge.html